How to Fight Fair With Your Alcoholic


When I was in school (decades ago…I won’t even discuss how many) there was a bully who took every opportunity to get in my face.

This continued for a long time until one day I confronted him in on the stairway with no one around.

You could say the tables were turned. The bully decided it wasn’t worth it to continue his antics.

No, I didn’t push him down the stairwell. This is about fighting FAIR.

When I confronted the bully I said if you want to do something to me do it here and now. I had the advantage because I was a step above him.

He decided he’d rather not tumble down the stairs. He was also surprised that I was willing to confront him.

When you find yourself in an argument with your alcoholic there are a few things you need to consider to make it a fair fight.

Never when drunk

The first rule in order to have a fair fight with your alcoholic is to do it sober.

If either of you have had even one drink it’s not the time to engage in an argument.

Think about it this way. Even if you can handle alcohol you know your alcoholic is going to have more and more until intoxicated.

This means you’re not going to be able to finish what you start without your alcoholic being under the influence.

Unfortunately too many discussions start this way and end up as a altercation because the alcohol begins to change the conversation.

Something is said that triggers a tangental thought and there you go again.

You’re better off with a clear minded conversation in the first place.

Eye to Eye

This is a basic communication skill. When you talk to your alcoholic, put aside emotions for a moment and give direct eye contact.

You’re always better off in the discussion when you look eye to eye when you’re talking.

The adage ‘eyes are the window to the soul’ is no doubt part of why this is such a powerful point.

Your alcoholic can’t help but know you’re serious when you gain eye contact and then discuss what’s on your mind.

Keep your voice down

I’m often amazed by how hard it is to control your voice when arguments and fights break out.

You might actually think ‘loud’ means ‘I win’. In fact, it may be just the opposite.

If you keep control of your voice and learn to soften it when you speak you may find it brings you closer to a solution much quicker.

It’s never fun to fight with someone who won’t FIGHT.

Practice responses with a soft answer.

This means you have to ‘on purpose’ compose yourself before you respond.

This alone gives you more opportunity to think about your answer before you offer it.

Stay on topic

When you argue about things that happened years ago it can be so irrelevant to what’s discussed.

This is extremely distructive to any fair fight.

The rule needs to be to discuss only what is directly on the topic you’re discussing.

Don’t let the conversation drag up things more than a few months old.

When you talk about today in today’s terms it really changes the argument.

Remember, all change happens in the here and now, not back then.

Admit when you agree

Arguments often become so heated it’s possible to disagree when in fact you agree.

This is what I call being disagreeable.

When you’re so angry that you wouldn’t agree with ANYTHING that cam out of your alcoholic’s mouth.

This isn’t fair.

It defeats your purpose of the discussion.

When you find you and your alcoholic agree on something. Make a note of it. You may even what to have a mini celebration.

Stop when you’ve made your point

One of my pet peeves is when a person has won their point and they belabor the point by going on and on.

WHen you’ve sufficiently made you point as evidenced by your alcoholic’s agreement with you, be done.

When you do this it may amaze you how many points you actually win over time.

Know when to walk away

There are times when a fight isn’t going to be fair.

Your alcoholic’s responses are irrational or unwilling to listen.

You may need to gather more information or resources to make your point.

The discussion may escalate to verbal or physical abuse.

There are times you just have to walk away.

I’m the first to recommend zero tolerance for violence. In addition you do not deserve to be verbally abused.

In these situations walk away and ask for protection.

Not every argument has to be finished in one conversation. You may take several discussion times to get things clear between you and your alcoholic.

So, when you walk away it doesn’t mean your alcoholic is right and you’re wrong. It simply means you need time to regroup before you finish the discussion.

When I confronted the bully in my life there was a lot to be said for the right time, the right place and the right words.

When it all comes together things turn out for the better.

What have your arguments been like? Let us know in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 6 Other People Thought...

  1. Lisa

    These past few weekends my husband who has been sober for 7mos. fell off the wagon. He thought be drinking vodka he could hide the smell of alcohol and he tried to “act normal” as possible. This weekend I found the vodka shot bottles. I started to shake and it felt like someone had stabbed me in my heart. When I confronted my husband he began to get angry with me. He started yelling at me and blaming me for his drinking. I couldn’t argue with him and that made him even more mad. I left the house for a few hours. The next day I was cordial with him because of the kids. He still blames me for his drinking. He apologized and said he guessed that maybe he needed a reminder the reasons why he doesnt drink; that he did not feel good. His stomach was hurting him all day. We’re okay but deep down inside; i’m miserable.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      This is an opportunity for your husband to come to terms with his illness. Even after 7 months he still went back to the bottle. The old behaviors came right back.

      You had an incredible response to him. Instead of taking it personal you decided what you needed to do. I’m sure you realize you didn’t make him drink… It’s always been his choice not yours.

      Keep the truth in front of him. Even though your husband had a relapse, 7 months is a good start. Instead of making this all about failure it can be a stepping stone toward longer periods of abstinence.

      Be sure and let him know how you felt about when he was staying sober.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Andrea

    What if it is the alcholic who belabors the “point won”? Even if I agree with him, he still belabors the point and belittles me. There is no getting him to see that he verbally abuses me. He only sees abuse as violence. The one time I did something about the verbal abuse (literal yelling at me ALL night long) he threw in my face over and over. (I called the police, as did my daughter and my father whom I was on the phone with). I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business so I need to be careful what is said and to whom. Not just for him, but for me too.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I understand you need to be careful in a small town. It’s also important to be truthful and allow your husband to be responsible for his behavior. People are going to think what they want, side with whoever they choose. It’s okay for you to stand up for yourself.

  3. Charlene

    I don’t like to argue about stuff. You go round and round about. Especially when his been drinking…. I discuss when he is sober. My mom always told me you don’t argue with a drunk…. This has been a long journey….I save my energy for better things….I am freeing myself from self destruction… I am free from depression…I write a lot one day I want to write a book….. Have a Great Day….

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Good advice! I hope you do write that book. Thanks for your comment.

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